This law review article summarizes the science of HIV and the historical background of HIV and HIV-related stigmas in the United States (“U.S.”). It delves into statistics about HIV diagnoses in the U.S. and Louisiana, and the disproportionate impact that HIV has on southern communities and communities of color. It then examines Louisiana’s HIV-specific law, introduced in 1987 and not updated since 1993, identifies the ineffectiveness and discriminatory nature of the law, how it is contrary to public health efforts, and calls for science and logic based revisions to it. It also reviews several Louisiana HIV criminal cases. Finally, the article acknowledges that solely changing the HIV criminal statute will not remove the stigma associated with HIV, and proposes mandatory public health training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors to combat implicit biases and HIV stigma.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy challenges barriers to the rights and health of people affected by HIV through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks, and resources. We support movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change that is rooted in racial, gender, and economic justice.